Author: Elle Kennedy
Please ignore the cheesy book description—seriously. The Deal has all the hallmarks of a typical contemporary romance (i.e. insanely fit and beautiful people, wealth, talent, and unreasonably intense sexual chemistry,) but none of the cheese. This is actually a really good read.
In a surprising move for the first book in a romance series, Kennedy tackles some significant and heavy topics relating to rape and abuse. She works with her characters to move through and dump emotional baggage in a believable way without weighing down the readers responses. When you get to the end, you’ve been on a ride, but it is one you are compelled to complete. Best of all, it does it with wit.
I appreciated so much that the writing is tight, the pacing is good, without ever making me feel like I like I was missing anything. We get a happy ending with no loose ends. Rather than being thick with subplots, Kennedy takes the approach of using first person, but flipping back and forth between the two main characters in a “He Said, She Said” kind of format. As the reader, we get to be in both their heads as they figure out how to go from being singles to being a couple, especially when one of them has zero interest in relationships. Check out this quote:
I have to say, this is the first time a girl’s been worried about getting caught in my bedroom. Normally they strut out like they’ve just bagged Brad Pitt.
Hannah takes a breath. “We studied. We watched TV. I went home late. That’s what happened. Got it?”
I fight back laughter. “As you wish.”
“Did you really just Princess Bride me?”
“Did you really just use Princess Bride as a verb?”
Garrett and Hannah are sarcastic, funny, sexy, and entirely believable while still being unrealistically talented and good looking. Kennedy makes it work. They shouldn’t have met, they shouldn’t be together, but they are perfect for each other. I bought the whole package. I could nitpick over a slightly anti-climactic ending, but it’s not worth it. The over feeling of the story is upbeat and worth my time.
To emphasize my point, I reread the book immediately. I almost never reread contemporary books. Then I bought the next one in the Off-Campus series, The Mistake, which focuses on John Logan, Garrett’s teammate and best friend. He also just happens to have a crush on Hannah. Now, of course, we have to wait for book three. *pacing*
She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…
Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
…and it’s going to be oh so good
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.
Release Date: April 9, 2015
Series: Off-Campus #1
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (340 pgs), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds
The Deal (Off-Campus #1)